On the same night, State Duke Lu brought Jing Jiu and Gu Qing to the Royal Palace.
Royal Concubine Hu learned of this beforehand. She washed Jing Yao thoroughly without using any fragrant water or powder; she put on a light colored cloth herself and waited in her palace.
The boss of the Precious-Tree House had cleaned and dressed himself the same way back when Zhao Layue went to Nanhezhou. The mortals had a stereotypical impression of the immortal masters on Green Mountain, though it was mostly correct.
It was obvious that Jing Jiu was more satisfied with the little prince that day. He didn't say that much and asked the old maidservant to bright him to his bedroom to sleep.
The little prince Jing Yao had been reminded by his mother for a long time, so he couldn't help but feel nervous. As he bid farewell to Jing Jiu, he said "Grandmaster" with a trembling tone; but he appeared cute though.
Jing Jiu glanced at Gu Qing.
Gu Qing said, "He didn't pretend. The Prince is much smarter than before."
The truly smart person doesn't pretend to be clever.
However, Royal Concubine Hu was not very smart. She finally figured out what the exchanges between Jing Jiu and Gu Qing were all about after initial bewilderment, sending an appreciative eye to Gu Qing.
And then she turned to Jing Jiu and asked nervously, "Are you going to take him to Green Mountain?"
Jing Yao had to go to Green Mountain to cultivate diligently at such a young age. As his mother, she was unwilling to let him go. However, she was well aware that Jing Xin was imprisoned in his palace right now, and that her son was now the target of everyone; all sorts of people would want to reach their hands in her palace. It would be better to let Jing Yao leave this place rather than worry about his safety all the time.
"I came here to make you feel safe; but I don't even know if this will help or not."
Jing Jiu said, "The Green Mountain disciple is only a status for him. What he will become depends on his father's decision."
Having said this, Jing Jiu and Gu Qing left the palace and looked at the deep end of the Royal Palace as a way of bidding farewell to the Emperor.
The stars shone on the field, and Jing Jiu and Gu Qing left the pavilions and ponds behind. Their shadows on the city walls were fairly visible.
"Master, should we use the carriage?" Gu Qing asked.
Everybody on Shenmo Peak knew that Jing Jiu had a peculiar habit, which was that he preferred walking or riding in a carriage to riding on a flying sword.
The Gu Clan built a carriage just for him. The carriage had taken Liu Shisui and Xiao He to the Fruit Formation Temple. It parked in Cloudy Town right then.
If Jing Jiu wanted to take the carriage, Gu Qing would ask the Gu Clan to transport the carriage over by a flying boat. All they had to do was to wait for half a night in Tongqiu County outside Zhaoge City.
Jing Jiu said, "No need for it. I'll go to another place. You return to Green Mountain by yourself."
Gu Qing felt surprised. It was odd for them to leave Zhaoge City in the middle of night; now he would rather ride on the sword than in the carriage…
Where would his Master go to? Why was he in such a hurry?
Thinking of the turmoil Jing Jiu had caused in the Fiend Prison, Gu Qing didn't dare let him leave by himself, and insisted on staying with him.
Jing Jiu didn't try to persuade him to change his mind; this was mostly because he was simply too lazy to do so. Jing Jiu took out the white cat from his sleeve and handed him to Gu Qing, saying, "You sit in the rear."
Having said this, the iron sword popped out from his body, hovering in the air of the quiet night as it reflected the starlight.
After three years of eroding in the green pond, the burnt scars on the iron sword had been smoothened. The sword had become broader instead of growing smaller, enough to carry several people on it at a time.
Yet, Gu Qing was concerned about something else, and he looked at the iron sword with an astonished expression.
Jing Jiu had broken through the Undefeated State many years ago, but he couldn't merge the sword into his body, so he had no way to produce the Sword Ghost. As such, he had to leave Green Mountain and enter the Fiend Prison secretively.
The iron sword and his body had become one now, so didn't it mean that he had solved the problem and was close to breaking through the Free Travel State?
The iron sword shot up skyward, and headed to the northwest swiftly under the starlight. Soon, they disappeared in the darkness of the night.
Jing Jiu sat in front, and Gu Qing sat in the rear while holding the white cat.
Even though Jing Jiu was in front of him blocking the wind, the Chaotic Wind rushing in from the surroundings still assaulted his face, feeling a bit painful.
Gu Qing was currently in a pretty high Cultivation state, though he was bothered by the Chaotic Wind. It could only mean that the iron sword flew at a high elevation and at an extremely high speed.
Gu Qing was amazed, wondering why the flying sword that used to be owned by Senior Master Mo behaved like a flying sword of the Fairy State in his Master's hands even though it was merely an ordinary sword.
Gu Qing didn't consider the fact that Jing Jiu didn't even feel anything while facing such powerful Chaotic Wind.
He didn't blame it on Jing Jiu's thick facial skin; he truly believed that his Master was not an ordinary Cultivation practitioner; which meant couldn't be judged by the standards for ordinary practitioners.
He had the strongest conviction of this, besides Zhao Layue.
The iron sword landed on barren land. The twilight was strong. The setting sun shone on the snowland in the north to make it look blood red. As a result, the place looked even more mysterious and dangerous.
It took them here from Zhaoge City in such a short time; Gu Qing was stunned speechless.
It was also because he had been blown by the Chaotic Wind for a day, and his body was stiff and his face was in pain, so that he couldn't speak anyway.
The cotton cloth on Jing Jiu had many tears sliced into it by the Chaotic Wind as well, becoming the strips flapping in the wind. He looked like a handsome beggar.
The snowland appeared peaceful in the darkness of the night. The sense of danger was the emotional reaction generated by humans.
The Queen of the Snow Kingdom should be still nursing her child; she wouldn't mind what the humans were thinking.
The residents of White Town didn't know about this secret. All they knew was that the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom hadn't shown up for many years, and they hosted the festivals one after the other in the town.
The residents here were all pilgrims. The religion they believed in was a combination of the Windy-Broadsword Sect and Zen. Though they were a bit crazy, they were nonetheless really sincere about their beliefs.
Hundreds of white streamers dressed up White Town like a bride. Watching from the cliff where Jing Jiu stood, those white streamers pointed to a common spot.
It was the small temple among the red cliffs in White Town.
Jing Jiu looked at the small temple quietly, and didn't speak for a long time.
Gu Qing's body had finally warmed up, and he asked in a quivery voice, "Master, are you looking for someone?"
Jing Jiu said, "Hmm, I heard Guo Dong would often come up here."
Gu Qing didn't expect to hear this name at all.
Besides Bai Zao, he had another woman, Guo Dong, on his mind?!
Wasn't she a Water-Moon Nunnery disciple? She was said to look rather ordinary…Well, his Master didn't care about appearances anyway.
"Senior Master Zhao had waited here for Master for over a year, right in that small temple," Gu Qing suddenly said seriously.
Jing Jiu knew his intention, and reached out his hand to pat his head a few times, saying, "I knew."
The iron sword shot up skyward again.
It didn't take long for them to arrive in Jiuye City, two hundred miles south of White Town.
The night was late, but the streets were still crowded. Many merchants and travelers were still eating, exchanging information at the same time.
The most convenient places for exchanging information in Chaotian were not the brothels, not the restaurants, but the medical houses.
The plaques of these medical houses were carved with the begonia flowers, the orange flowers, and all sorts of flowers.
Seeing the flower on the plaque he couldn't recognize, Jing Jiu shook his head. Though he had dealt with the Curtain Rollers a few times already, he still couldn't understand the intention of using different flowers on their plaques.
Gu Qing walked up the stone steps while holding the white cat, and knocked on the door of the medical house.
Even though the medical house received the patients at night, they rarely saw two men with a cat.
And these two men looked haggard in their appearance, but obviously were not sick. Was it possible that the patient was the cat with his eyes closed?
"Dear guests, we don't know how to treat a cat…"
Before the assistant could finish his sentence, he stopped abruptly and led them into the medical house. He then locked the front door.
Jing Jiu took off the conical hat and exposed his face.
Gu Qing stood behind the chair with the white cat in his chest.
Jing Jiu sat in the chair.
There were three cups of tea on the table.
As the hot tea got cold, the doctor finally came back.
"The immortal master wants it in a hurry; so we didn't have enough time to check it out in a day. The information is mostly the same as before. Please forgive us."
The doctor said this with a bitter smile, thinking that he wanted this information last night in Zhaoge City and came to Jiuye City today; no news could fly as fast as he did.
"Please tell me regardless," said Jing Jiu.
The doctor said, "Nobody knows the origin of Guo Dong. She seemed to pop up from nowhere."
"When?" asked Jing Jiu.
The doctor took out a piece of jade from his sleeve and held in his hand, saying, "It was when Lian Sanyue started cultivating behind closed doors many years ago, in an attempt to break through the Heavenly Arrival State…"
Before he could finish the sentence, Jing Jiu said, "It's not true. She had attained the Heavenly Arrival State many years ago."
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